Were you confused when you woke up Monday and some members of the elite were outraged about something and other members of the elite were not outraged? Internicene elitist warfare! Confusing! If you were like everyone on the internet, your reaction to that New Yorker cover satirizing the rumors about the Obamas went through five steps, from shock on Sunday to acceptance earlier this afternoon. Let us explain!
Step 1: It's Offensive! Liberals Say He's wearing a turban and they're burning a flag and Osama bin Laden is hanging on the wall! The New Yorker says Barack Obama is a terrorist who hates America!
We Say OMG shut up.
Obama's spokesman says: "The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree."
We Say They "may think" they meant it satirically? Does intention no longer enter into it? "Most readers" will think it's offensive? Most New Yorker readers? What are you even talking about.
Media Elite Says "Intent factors into these matters, of course, but no Upper East Side liberal — no matter how superior they feel their intellect is — should assume that just because they're mocking such ridiculousness, the illustration won't feed into the same beast in emails and other media. It's a recruitment poster for the right-wing."
We Say Way to both call out the elite for being snobs while also calling everyone else in America a moron you twit.
Conservatives Say Ha ha... ha?
Step 2: It's Bad Satire! Well-meaning Liberals Say The New Yorker should've added a little a caption that says "this is a joke!" and then no one would get confused.
We Say Seriously?
They Continue Or maybe a little cartoon John McCain who's thinking all this crazy stuff! Then this cartoon would be ideologically acceptable.
We Say Yes, good work, how is that Two-and-a-Half Men spec script coming, Mr. Funny Guy? Oh and maybe cartoon McCain should be complaining about how much money things cost these days, because he is so old? (THAT IS SATIRE BY THE WAY)
Step 3: Think Of the Children! Media Critics Say Americans are too stupid to recognize that this is satire.
We Say So far all the people mischaracterizing the cover have been members of the esteemed east coast media elite. Many of them are on television! The little old lady from Dubuque has been invoked but not heard from. She probably either already believes the bullshit about Obama or she doesn't. It's not clear why a cartoon on the cover of a magazine would sway her more than emails she's probably already received. Because Americans believe cartoons are real?
Bloggers Say The New Yorker didn't help Obama, so they're dumb, because they're liberal, and as liberals everything they do should help Obama. Like Rolling Stone.
We Say It should be the job of the newsmedia to tell the truth, yes. And The New Yorker does that (presumably) in their well-reported cover story on Obama. But The New Yorker, while a liberal publication, is not the house organ of the Democratic party, or an Obama surrogate, and in fact they are in an independent magazine beholden to no one but their subscribers and readers, who hopefully understand the magazine's tone and style, which, yes, involves making funny jokes sometimes. And Jonathan Alter should, if he wishes to, explain and debunk all the various gross myths about Obama. That is a good thing for a Newsweek columnist to do. But it's actually the job of the Obama campaign to make sure voters hear the truth about their candidate.
Furthermore We Say Whether this cover helps or hurts Obama is utterly irrelevant. Because it's not a piece of campaign propaganda. And for liberals to treat the magazine like it should be Pravda is gross.
Step 4: Lighten Up! Suddenly Commentators Say: The Obama campaign should get a sense of humor!
We Say (and Jason Zengerle concurs) Where were you guys yesterday? Also yes there's no reason the Obama campaign needed to say they thought it was hilarious, though "offensive" was a bit much.
Step 5: Howard Kurtz Howard Kurtz Says Blah blah blah I'm utterly useless.
We Say Oh god we never want to write about this again.